Federal leaders join rally at Toronto long-term care home, call for more protections for seniors

Two-federal parties are asking for reform to long-term care homes across Ontario. The NDP and Green Party leaders participated in a rally in Toronto on Sunday, demanding action and aid for one of Toronto’s hardest hit care homes. With more, here's Morganne Campbell.

TORONTO — Two of Canada’s four federal party leaders joined a rally at a Toronto long-term care home this afternoon to press the provincial government to do more to protect seniors from the ravages of COVID-19.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and the Green Party’s Annamie Paul spoke outside St. George’s Care Community, which is in the midst of one of the largest virus outbreaks in Ontario.

Data from the ministry of health shows there are 43 residents and 28 staff members currently infected with COVID-19 at the home.

There have been 14 deaths linked to the active outbreak.

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Paul said she has a personal connection to the home, adding her father died there during the first wave of the global pandemic.

She’s calling on both provincial officials and members of the public to do their utmost to protect long-term care residents, who have been hit especially hard by the virus.

“This is a plea on behalf of every single person who has someone who is still alive in these facilities and every single person who has lost someone in these facilities,” said Paul. “Please help. Please make sure that you follow the recommendations by our experts.

“They are clear. They are implementable. And they would make a difference tomorrow if only there was the political will.”

St. George’s is owned by Sienna Senior Living, but the University Health Network temporarily took over management of the for-profit facility last week. Sienna also owns Rockcliffe Care Community in Toronto’s east end and Langstaff Square Care Community in Richmond Hill, Ont., which are also under hospital management.

Singh said the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the flaws of the for-profit model of long-term care homes.

“Profit has been killing seniors,” he said. “We’re making a very clear demand: we need to get profit out of long-term care.”

Meanwhile, Ontario’s COVID-19 case totals continued to surge on Sunday.

The government reported 3,945 new infections over the past 24 hours, along with 61 more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 1,160 new cases of the coronavirus in Toronto, 641 in Peel Region, and 357 in York Region.

A total of 4,983 people have died from COVID-19 in Ontario and 215,782 have tested positive for the virus over the course of the pandemic.

More than 62,300 tests have been completed since the last provincial update on Saturday.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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